Stretching things Message Board: Ciphers: Stretching things

By Lapumo ( - on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 03:56 pm:

Yes, I realise I may be stretching things but thought this looked interesting-In looking at the mistakes in the first cypher and comparing these "mistakes" with the symbols used I see the following;-
Dangeroue...... Symbol used for mispelling E
Amamal..........Symbol used Black Triangle or A
is thae ........Symbol used for mispelling N
Paradice.......symbol used for mispelling E (reversed).
All the I(if you take "the I" Symbols used (I for T),(m for H), (N for E), and K reversed for I.
Sloi ........Symbol used for mispelling Triangle or A.
Which leaves E A N E I M N K A--- Instead of" my name is" have "I am .....

By Glen ( - on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 06:05 pm:

Good observations, Lapumo, but they may be incorrectly based on mis-publication of the information. For instance, I don't think I found "anamal" instead of "animal". Let me publish my notes on the 408-cipher here so we're all on the same page and not subject to "printer's errors" when discussing these observations.

By Glen ( - on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 06:23 pm:

Lapumo, here is my decipherment of the 408-cipher, sans "printer's errors". I'm sure it will clear up some of the problems I've seen discussed with this cipher.


By Ed N. ( - on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 09:09 pm:

I think we can agree that Z actually encoded "dangeroue" and not "dangertue" like Penn said (another example of playing fast and loose with the facts).

By Lapumo ( - on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 08:21 am:

The first time I seen "anamal" used was on page 55 of Graysmith's book.However, having subsequently discovered that there were different versions I checked the cypher itself. In the version I have the "black Triangle" is used 9times.4 in substution for S and 5 times for A.The "clear triangle is used for i.It was an honest observation from what I had in front of me.
Can you verify please?
The one thing I remain convinced of in this case is that there is something somewhere in this original cypher--some clue. He spent so much time on it I dont think given his ego he could resist it.

By Ed N. ( - on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 11:50 pm:

Glen and Lapumo: Graysmith's version might be correct on this point. The symbol in question is the filled-in/black triangle in line 7, column 9 of the 408-cipher. This can be seen in the early stories concerning the cryptogram where the cipher block has been reproduced, such as:

"Note Tells of Killings In Vallejo" (Vallejo News-Chronicle, 8-1-1969, p. 1);

"Vallejo Mass Murder Threat Fails" (Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, 8-3-1969, Section A, p. 9); and

"More On Killer: Text Of Letter May Offer Clues" (Vallejo News-Chronicle, 8-4-1969, p. 2).

It doesn't appear to be a printing error or something, because the other empty/clear triangles haven't been filled in by accident, so it looks like it's supposed to be the symbol that stands for both "A" and "S"; thus, Z encoded "ANAMAL" and not "ANIMAL." Correct me if I'm wrong.

By Glen ( - on Sunday, October 01, 2000 - 11:16 am:

I looked at all available sources when compiling my transcription, but I didn't set them next to each other, so I obviously didn't record all the discrepancies. I believe my logic was to divide the errors into two types: 1. errors in sequence and 2. errors in character usage. 2. can be broken down into two other sections , 2a - errors obviously performed by the author, and 2b - errors that may or may not be copy errors. There are several errors that fall into this class, but if Tom can verify that the copy he has of the Chronicle portion of this cipher is the original, many of these can be verified and eliminated as errors.

pt "A" uses a triangle with a dot in the middle, pt "I" uses a triangle by itself, and pt "S" uses a triangle filled in. All three use the triangle form and this form is not used for any other character. This puts the transcription error in the hands of the author, who simply forgot which form he was using for each character. If we decipher "anamal" for the obvious "animal", then we would have to make all the other corrections and decipher "with-a-girl" as "with-s-girl", etc. This also holds true for the square characters in the cipher. If we correct one problem but not the next, we're being subjective versus objective. We either need to correct them all or correct none of them.

This system is meant to be used in an orderly sequence, which Z tried to do to some degree. When he used it properly, we see that the intention was that no character appears in more than one column, so the character for "A" is not interchangeable with the character for "I". His system was clearly delineated, so when he uses the wrong character, it does not mean that the character in question doubles in another column. It means that his use of the character was an error on his part, not a function on the cipher itself.

How I come to this conclusion is by diagramming the character usage for each pt letter.

For pt letter "A", four characters are used in progression. They are G,S,l, and 3 (our triangle with a dot in the middle.) The progression for pt "A" is as follows: 22-G, 52-S, 66-l, 84-3, 89-G, 101-S, 109-l, and then at 111 there is a mistake - the triangle without a dot is used. This does not mean that the triangle without a dot is a pt "A" substitution because the repetition of the "A" column has already been established by the string above. 111 then becomes either a misusage error on Z's part or a copy error in the publication of the cipher.

The progression for pt "I" is a follows: 1 (our basic triangle), P, U, and k. Follow this progression through and you'll see it continues through 8 uninterrupted repetitions before it finally demonstrates an error between 286 and 303. Here's the progression in order up to 286:

1, 3, 7, 10, 26, 28, 39, 41, 55, 58, 62, 69, 91, 123, 132, 136, 152, 155, 167, 169, 189, 205, 210, 226, 228, 238, 240, 242, 244, 255, 262, 274, 280, 286.

The pt "S" column is similar, as are all the other columns. The number of repetitions of the system indicate that the characters in question cannot be placed in the columns as a character, rather they are a mistake or error from more than one source.

What this means is that there are errors even Lapumo has overlooked, so we would have to go back and transcribe the entire cipher literally, without substituting, so that one triangle character represents only pt letter. This would alter Lapumo's "E A N E I M N K A" notation, (which also does not take into account errors in the square characters, etc.), but it's what must be done if you think there's a message in the errors themselves. Now I tend to write a capital "A" with the center line a little close to the bottom, and if you look at the 340 cipher, you'll see that Z did this once in awhile. It's possible that the "sloi" may not be a mistake in character usage, but in the drawing of the character. Just a thought.

Lapumo, here's my transcription of the 408-cipher. If you look on my site, you'll find a truetype font that you can use to check my transcription for errors. I'm not fully convinced that Graysmith's book is error free (wonder where I got that opinion) so if we can check it against copies of the original, we can come up with a much more accurate errata list than we have presently. This would certainly help to advance your theory. Interested?

Ed, you know of any photocopies of the other two sections of the cipher besides the one Tom has posted? Anyone?


By Glen ( - on Sunday, October 01, 2000 - 12:32 pm:

Lapumo, Ed N.,

I posted my early errata sheet on the web.

Some of the graphics files are in the .png format, so I hope they all display properly. I used this to make my early assumptions, and if Lapumo finds problems with my transcription, this page will obviously change. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the system quite clearly, demonstrating that NO character is duplicated in any other column than the one it was intended to be in.

Lapumo, ALL the errors present must be taken into account, and then divided into their types in order for you to form a pattern that comes up with something we should look at. Im not suggesting you abandon your direction of thought - not in any way! I'm saying we need to take all the evidence into account and see once and for all if there is anything to the "hidden message within a message" theory. The results will be revealing no matter how they turn out.

The first thing on the agenda is to work out any problems we may have in transcription, and modify the errata list accordingly. Now that it's posted, we can modify it easily and perform a very good examination of the facts for the good of all.

Anybody, please look at this and correct any mistakes you might find. Accuracy is very important here!

By Ed N. ( - on Monday, October 02, 2000 - 12:32 am:

Glen, other than what is in Zodiac, the only ones I know of thus far are from those three stories I listed in my last post. Parts two (Examiner) and three (Chronicle) of the cipher were reproduced in the Vallejo Times-Herald ("Cipher," 8-2-1969, p. 2), but, oddly enough, columns 16 and 17 were cropped from it.

The other three copies I have are not too bad, I'll have to compare them to Graysmith for accuracy. Unless you'd like for me to scan and e-mail them to you?

By Ed N. ( - on Monday, October 02, 2000 - 12:53 am:

Glen: you didn't use Penn's "diplomatic version" of the 408-cipher from Times 17, p. 50, did you???

By Glen ( - on Monday, October 02, 2000 - 04:20 am:

Ed, fortunately I missed that version!

By Ed N. ( - on Monday, October 02, 2000 - 10:37 am:

Good thing!!!

By lapumo ( - on Monday, October 02, 2000 - 11:46 am:

I think we're going to be chasing our tails a bit until we're all singing from the same hymn sheet. Iam also having trouble downloading your zodiac zip at the moment Glen. .However, starting by taking a look at our "A's and S's" I would see things a little differently to Glen.
Glen, as far as the progression for "A" goes you have:- G,S,1, Triangle with dot (TWD) with the first error at 111 with the use of the Black Triangle (BT).
On your errata sheet you have S represented with the BT and the TWD.Wheras the A is represented with TWD only.Having looked at the cypher version I have I would see that initially, the BT represented "A" and the TWD intended to represent "S". I think (stand to be corrected ) that this explians errors a little clearer.

ON the "A" progression I have,
22-G, 52-S, 66-1, 84-BT
89-G, 101-S, 109-1, 111-BT (not error)
113-G, 117-S, 183-1, 208-BT
221-G, -----, 232-1, -----
-----, 258-S, 260-1, 265-TWD(First error)
268-G, 276-S, -----, 299-BT
-----, 321-S, -----, -----
327-G, -----, -----, -----
373-G, -----, -----, 382-BT.

The sequence runs for the first 3 cycles before interuption after 221.The first time the TWD is used to represent A is at 265.

ON the "S" progression I have,
F, Square with dot(SWD), K, TWD.
24-F, 29-SWD, 30-K, 42 TWD
79_f, 86-SWD, 92-K, 98-BT (error)
----, 126-SWD, 139-K, 147-BT (ERROR)
170-F, 200-SWD, 218-K, 229-BT (error)
297-F, 302-SWD, 329-K, ----
343-F, ------, -----, 353-TWD
371-F, 376-SWD.

These are the values I've got. I know there going to depend on confirmation on which version
of the cypher is right.Going with the progression the first-TWD represents S, while the first BT represents A, on mine anyway!????
I see here on Tom's site that the Examiner section of the cypher is Identical to the version
in "HIS" book.
Ed,Glen (my God) Ed Gein there everywhere----Seriously Can you tell me what the general consensus is on the 340 cypher,is there something here to be deciphered?

By Glen ( - on Monday, October 02, 2000 - 03:09 pm:


I've checked some of these against my errata sheet, and it seems my errors crept in extremely early. I'm not sure which version they came from, but I am in error on a couple of things. The dotted triangle and the black triangle are switched, for one thing.

We need to check these against the best copies available and verify the characters, or at least agreee on them.

By Glen Claston (Glenclaston) ( - on Tuesday, October 17, 2000 - 08:32 pm:

Lapumo, if you're still out there, I think I've fixed my transcription and errata problems. Still interested?

Bert, if you're still out there (and didn't try to sell my abracadra to the highest bidder) I've run the numbers on the different test texts and I hope to post most of them by this weekend. Can I ever be forgiven for going with AT&T?

By Bruced (Bruced) ( - on Wednesday, October 18, 2000 - 08:23 pm:

For Glen Claston- Whatever happened to John King who was working with you on the ciphers?
Bruce D.

By Glen Claston (Glenclaston) ( - on Wednesday, October 18, 2000 - 10:20 pm:

I don't know what happened to John King. I've sent a couple of messages to his e-mail address but received no answer. Maybe he'll return when he's not so busy.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Monday, October 23, 2000 - 02:19 pm:

Yes, am still interested, unfortunately your "transcription site" is listed as unavailable.In the meantime I,ve seen another version of the 480 cipher at the Crime Library which appears to have been taken from "Penn's" book,confusing things further.
However,working from what I had I have 13 "errors" in the 480 cipher adding 3 "full triangles" and / for the extra R in forest to what I already had.
The point I was getting at first day was the similarity of the symbols used for these errors with the "my name is cipher" rather than any particular message. Am I making any sense?

By Glen Claston (Glenclaston) ( - on Monday, October 23, 2000 - 09:36 pm:

I just checked my site on Geocities and it seems to be working - but I'm discovering that some browsers are having trouble with the way FrontPage generates files, and I would have to entirely redo the files and repost them because FrontPage won't allow me to save my files without the extensions once they're in. It's suppose to and believe me I've tried, but it just doesn't take!

I've already posted my transcription on this board, so could you post yours so we can compare the two?

If you still can't get the font file from my site, send me your e-mail and I'll return it as an attachment. I won't open any attachments without first knowing they're coming, or send attachments without permission.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Tuesday, October 24, 2000 - 07:50 am:

As far as the cipher went the only differences we had was the A and S symbols, all else appears OK.Just to recap my results arrive from using the "triangle with dot" (TWD)to represent S, and the "black triangle" (BT) to represent A.All else being equal I find a total of 13 "errors in the 480 cipher as follows:-
1. extra r in forrest represented by \
2+3+4. Moat dangeroue anamal---BT-E-BT
5. Moat again line 1 SF examiner section --BT.
6. Omission of i in "experence"
7+8. best part iA thaE----BT-N
9. Paradice---E reversed
10-13 .All"THEI" have killed -I-M-N- K (reversed)
14. Sloi represented by a clear triangle(CT)

The symbols remaining give in order:-
\-BT-E-BT-BT-BT-N-E-I-M-N-K-CT 13 in all with nothing to account for the missing i in experience.

My point from the outset was the similarity between this result and the "My name is cipher"
any message at this point if any is only secondary.

Just to rearrange to make my point:-
A E N Z 8 K 8 M 8 Y N A M
\ E N e BT K Bt M BT E N I CT
Yes,I am stretching things, but only as far as Graysmith

By Glen Claston (Glenclaston) ( - on Friday, October 27, 2000 - 08:50 am:

Sorry for not replying Lapumo,

I've been working on another problem which I've passed over for many years thinking it was junk. In the past three days I've written 45 pages on that "junk" subject, and I hate to stop when I'm in the middle of a "creative flurry", so I haven't been to this site for awhile. Sorry.

I'll let my mind clear and try to rework a new site so all necessary files can be accessed.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Sunday, December 24, 2000 - 07:39 am:

Again,I am stretching things,I've held off on this for a while,for fear of one of those "eerie silences".However,Ill have to risk it.The misspellings in the 480 cipher has always bothered me.Zodiac spent a lot of time at this and could spell well enough when he wanted to.There's not enough of them to throw off analysts if that was his intention.
Taking a section as follows as it appears in grid form:-
ist-H-e most

You get R.Hammre or R Hammer. I would not have bothered with this except,we do have an Rh connection.Both spellings of the surname are legitimate and are of English extraction.I also took into consideration Zodiac's "paradice slaves"

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Sunday, December 24, 2000 - 07:51 am:

Hamm is also an English surname

By Jake Wark (Jake) ( - on Sunday, December 24, 2000 - 11:09 am:

Didn't Hammer Films used to make vampire movies? Maybe this is another movie buff clue. Or maybe he was a vampire!

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Sunday, December 24, 2000 - 11:22 am:

A bad actor maybe!

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Wednesday, December 27, 2000 - 05:39 am:

Really,Jake,in all fairness.I put forward a serious piece of detective work for consideration and you suggest Zodiac could have been a VAMPIRE.
Is this your attempt at humor???How could a vampire have committed the LB attack when it happened during DAYLIGHT HOURS.HOW Eh.Dont come back with "that's why he wore the hood" either,it won't wash.
Oh,by the way,anything "nice" for Christmas? I hope you were not awakened too early by the inevitable tut-tuting of Father Christmas as he topped up your Christmas Stocking.
Happy Holidays.:)

By Jake Wark (Jake) ( - on Wednesday, December 27, 2000 - 06:49 pm:

Ok, well maybe he was a Mickey Spillaine fan, how's that?

I booby-trapped my chimney again this year. You want to get into my house, you gotta do better than THAT old trick!

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Thursday, December 28, 2000 - 12:13 pm:

We got it between us- Stacey Keach who played
"Mike Hammer" also starred as Killer Kane opposite
Jason Miller the priest from the Exorcist in the movie The Ninth Configuration.Its all coming together.